Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Instead of Harmony There Was Nothing but Rags


Tom Sleigh

I wanted first to end up as a drunk in the gutter
and in my twenties I almost ended up there—

and then as an alternative to vodka, to live

alone like a hermit philosopher and court
the extreme poverty that I suspected lay in store for me anyway—

and then there were the years in which

I needed very badly to take refuge in mediocrity,
years like blunt scissors cutting out careful squares,

and that was the worst, the very worst—

you could say that always my life
was like a patchwork quilt always ripped apart—

my life like scraps stitched together in a dream

in which animals and people,
plants, chimeras, stars,

even minerals were in a preordained harmony—

a dream forgotten because it has to be forgotten,
but that I looked for desperately, but only sporadically

found in fragments, a hand lifted to strike

or caress or simply lifted for some unknown reason—
and in memory too, some specific pain, sensation of cold or warmth.

I loved that harmony in all its stages of passion,

the voices still talking inside me . . . but then, instead of harmony,
there was nothing but rags scattered on the ground.

And maybe that's all it means to be a poet.

1 comment:

  1. Over Thanksgiving, I had a conversation with a friend about the GOP's candidate hoo-hah. We agreed that the Right is tacking towards extremism -- else, why would a presumed sober moderate like Jebby look like such a peevish loser compared to whack jobs like Donny and Benji?

    In the end, we agreed that it isn't "about" Trump or Cruz or Carlson: It just feels like it's a box of Bad Crazy out there. What's in the box wants a name and a face to attach itself to, 'cause it's lookin' for a way out.